Committed to Connecting to Our Communities?
To what extent does an architect have a duty of care to instigate some form of meaningful consultation in considering the wider community?
Written by Sarah Willats; 12017284
23 January 2013
The Development of Hackney
Chapter 1: Should it be the Architects Duty to Consult?
The Importance of Consultation
The Consequences of Neglecting this Duty
The ethos of Hawkins\Brown
Chapter 2: Case Study - Gillett Square
Collaboration with Social Action
2012 WAN Effectiveness Award
Chapter 3: Case Study - Dalston Square
The New Localism Bill and Planning Policy Frameworks 2012
15 Opportunities for Architects with New Legislation – The Future Practice
16 What is the value of consultation?
Committed to Connecting to our Communities?
‘It is about making connection first rather than getting on with the drawings because if you get the connections right then people bring the building with them’ – Russell Brown – Hawkins\Brown Architects. When asking the directors of Hawkins\Brown what their architecture means to them, they will be inclined to tell you stories about the people they have worked with – opposed to a series of architectural objects. The emphasis being that the process of designing is about responding to people’s needs, so why is it still sometimes forgotten how important it is to engage in meaningful consultation before contributions are made to our built environment? Some of the most creative work in architecture is carried out through careful managerial decisions and frameworks which sculpt the processes of consultation and collaboration with members of the community. More often than not however, the process is only used to tick a box or to manipulate perceptions rather than actually being considered in design. But should this be the Architect’s duty to be the provider and supporter of this process? Do Architects really place themselves in a better position for fully engaging with the wider community? The Development of Hackney
I will be focusing my exploration of community engagement around the development of The London Borough of Hackney. As in recent years, London has seen its eastern district change from a place fuelled by crime to a place where everybody wants to live. The infamous ‘Murder Mile’ on Lower and Upper Clapton road during the early 2000’s will probally put this into perspective. Hackney’s towns and public spaces have undergone phenomenal regeneration and generally without losing its artistic character, to which the community has thrived upon. Hawkins\ Brown Architects have a longstanding involvement in Hackney, particularly in Dalston with the development of Gillett Square. Having also lived there for 25 years, Russell Brown has had a very personal involvement with the district. Dalston was once an area that was recognized for have little to no public space. But there is now a growing awareness of the importance these ‘edges in architecture’ (e.g. public spaces, infrastructure etc) in benefiting the physical, mental and social well being of the community. Shared Public spaces offer opportunities for engagement and retreat and can improve community relations between people of different social and ethical backgrounds. Gillett Square is a prime example that ‘with good planning, design and careful attention to landscaping we can improve many of London’s run down but precious spaces and turn them into places we want to go and pass the time rather than avoid.’ This was a quote from Ken Livingstone in 2006 following the completion of the square and marking the first of his ‘100 Spaces for Londoners’ programme. However, the recently completed Dalston Square,...
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